Lobby Design: Transforming a Liability into an Asset

When Vector Properties’ Wendy Williams, General Manager of 1001 17th Street, contacted McPherson Architecture, she said, “The building owner wants to activate the Lobby.”

Nick Pavlakovich, leasing broker for the building, described the request in more emotional terms, “Potential tenants think the lobby is cold, sterile and out-of-date.”  Although beautifully designed, the lobby was from a time when large oil companies dominated the tenant market.  It didn’t connect with the growth tenants of today’s market, the entrepreneurs in technology and services who are inventing the products of the internet age.  Those tenants seek amenity rich buildings where the lobby is an extension of their own office space, and a marketing tool to help attract the workforce of the millennial age.

Franklin Street Properties, the building owner, wanted to make changes but also wanted to be smart about their investment.  Working interactively with Wendy and Nick, the McPherson team took stock of what existed and developed a design that turned negatives into positives.

Color was added to existing architectural features, and lighting was used to brighten the elevator lobbies.  Area rugs were added and expansive circular seating units designed to bring warmth to the expanse of existing granite.  Plants were added and a TV monitor to help activate the space with a view to the outside world.

The end result is an energetic, engaging space that is warm and friendly.  The budget was modest when compared to most “lobby renovations,” and best of all, the tenants have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.  “Adding color to a space can be an emotional thing for people, but we worked with Wendy and chose colors that were crowd-pleasers,” said Mark McPherson.

What did Wendy Williams appreciate most about the process?  “We all appreciated the collaborative approach with the McPherson team, and best of all they stuck with it and helped us get the project done.  When the seating unit installation didn’t go as expected, Mark appeared, took charge and got everyone organized,” remarked Wendy.  “I really appreciated that!”

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